An Honest Tradition
For islands that pride themselves on a strong sense of community, nothing reflects this more than the beloved ‘Hedge Veg’ stall. It’s almost impossible to take a stroll along any of the islands’ meandering lanes without stumbling across these miniature roadside stores, providing fresh seasonal produce and a charming flavour of island life to locals and visitors alike.
Hedge Veg is a quaint and unique tradition that dates back to an era where locals were keen to make a modest profit from selling their homegrown fruit and vegetables for a small sum. Whatever extra crops had been cultivated in local gardens and allotments would be made available for purchase via a small stall in the front ‘Hedge Veg,’ were invited and the till point often took the simple form of a small cash box (or even jam jar) where buyers were trusted to pay, with honesty, for their purchase.
Over the years, these miniature shops have taken on various forms, from modest shelves screwed to a wall or fence, to more elaborate bespoke display stands housed in gateways or doorways. Where once Hedge Veg stands typically sold eggs, potatoes and tomatoes, today’s vendors have taken a more artisan approach, often generating a tidy profit from elaborate fare, including freshly-ground coffee, home-made brownies, local honey and fresh-cut flowers. Some Hedge Veggers have even ventured down the meat and seafood route, with crab, mackerel and lobster neatly rowed up alongside sausages and steak. For eco-minded shoppers, there’s no better way to ‘buy local’ with minimal food miles to boot!
With newer generations of Hedge Veg vendors taking the stand and branching into everything, from plants to paperbacks, thankfully, this much-loved institution shows no sign of fading away, and we can’t think of a better souvenir to take home with you than a truly authentic flavour of island life.